Man indicted in murder of Fernandina Beach pet sitter pleads not guilty

Shawn Whigham appears in court via Zoom on Thursday (WJXT)

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A man indicted on a charge of first-degree murder charged in the death of a beloved Nassau County pet sitter pleaded not guilty Thursday.

A special prosecutor from the 7th circuit State Attorney’s Office was appointed by the governor for Shawn Lamont Whigham’s case because he has a relative who works in the Nassau County State Attorney’s Office.

Whigham’s next court date was set for March 3.

He is charged in the death of Colleen Marie Potts and was also indicted on a charge of armed burglary and armed burglary with assault.

A Fernandina Beach Police Department report from December states that Potts, 73, of Yulee, died of a gunshot wound.

RELATED: Community remembers legacy of slain Fernandina Beach pet sitter

According to the report, a spent shell casing was found at the residence, but a firearm was not recovered. Investigators noted several shoe prints in the foyer of the residence, which did not belong to Potts.

Photo of Colleen Potts from family member. (

Whigham, the report states, was interviewed on three occasions and provided conflicting statements during the first two interviews. It states Whigham admitted to fabricating details of prior statements and that he confessed to stealing about $300 out of Pott’s vehicle in October.

According to investigators, Whigham also admitted to entering the home on South 13th Street a day later, when the home was left unoccupied, and searched the residence for items to steal.

The Police Department said Whigham admitted to entering the residence with the intent to steal on Oct. 24, and that he encounter Potts in the living room. Investigators said Whigham admitted to shooting her, grabbing her purse and fleeing the home.

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